The value of innovation to Hong Kong

The value of innovation to Hong Kong

Elaine Taylor-Whilde, CEO of Nine Health CIC, who joined the PM Theresa May on her trip to China in January this year, is in Hong Kong for the Festival and had this to say about how international cooperation is the key to prosperity and happiness on a global scale.

Why is Hong Kong such an important market?

Hong Kong is an important market because it is one of the world’s:

  • Freest economies
  • Most services-oriented economies, with service sectors accounting for more than 90% of GDP
  • Second largest host and investor of foreign direct investment (FDI) stock, after the United States

In addition, the government has put in place a range of measures which appeal to innovative technology companies, for example, $50 billion for supporting innovation and technology development, an intention to develop Hong Kong as an international innovation and technology hub with a doubling of R&D expenditure from 0.73 per cent  to 1.5 per cent as well as extra funding to support locally based businesses to become involved in opportunities arising from the Belt and Road Initiative.

Companies such as Nine Health Global (Hong Kong) Ltd are poised to use this supportive environment to develop new super computational predictive clinical tools to improve the health of the population of Hong Kong, and subsequently of the rest of China.  We can create individually tailored solutions for individuals based on information derived from available data.  These applications and programmes can have a substantive impact on city populations by linking data from traffic, air quality, health and social status together.  This enables personalised predictive health and other educational applications which can result in radical improvement and save lives.

What do you think the biggest opportunity is for Leeds City Region businesses in Hong Kong?

Financial services comprise a large share of Hong Kong’s economy and are also a particular Leeds City Region strength. Professional services firms of all kinds regard Hong Kong as their stepping stone into China and the rest of Asia. In addition, while only having a population of 7.4 million, Hong Kong is due to its history, far ahead of other parts of China in areas such as healthcare and other public services.

This, combined with its common law legal system, rule of law, relative transparency and lack of corruption, make it a market for goods and services which is more readily accessible than markets in other parts of China and some parts of the rest of Asia.

Finally, Hong Kong is the conduit for a large proportion of outbound investment by private Chinese investors. Having a presence in Hong Kong allows easier access to this potential source of capital, free from the foreign exchange controls and other restrictions which are in place on overseas investments made direct from mainland China.  

What would you like to showcase in Hong Kong to the Chinese market? 

We would like to showcase the work we have done in Europe and in China to develop big data products and services.

The EU government reviewers described The Virtual Physiological Human (VPH) Share as "excellent and important". VPH Share focused on providing a cloud environment enabling clinical researchers to develop simulation and decision support workflows to allow raw medical data to be refined into meaningful diagnostic and therapeutic information.  The review presentation focused on the user stories enabled by the VPH Share "infostructure", for clinical, educational, industrial and research users, each of which have real-world problems which can be addressed using the project.

The sustainability of the project was highlighted, showing how it can continue to contribute to the various user groups beyond the life of the project. Nine Health CIC took the tools and learning from VPH share to Hangzhou in China in 2014 and working with our Chinese partner Lantone and some of the original EU partners, now based at the Insigneo Institute in Sheffield). An automated clinical system was created to support Chinese clinical teams in outpatient to reach rapid clinical decisions. The system continues to roll out across China and we are applying the knowledge together with our partners to many other clinical, environmental and agricultural issues.


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